How to Care for Your Wool Soaker
How to wash:
All wool soakers should be hand washed in lukewarm to warm water, never too hot. Extreme temperatures may ruin the shape and feel. Make sure to wash with special wool detergent. I use Imse Vimse's wool care product, but any special wool soap will do. Wool soaps generally have a small amount of lanolin in them already, so it is not necessary to add lanolin to the wash every time. (Please see below on How to lanolize). Step 1: Fill your sink or small bucket with lukewarm water and add a small amount of wool wash to the water. For this step you should eyeball the amount, depending on how soiled the soaker is. Step 2: Swish the soaker around, aggressively enough to get it clean, but not too forceful. Too much agitation can cause it to loose its shape. Step 3: Let it soak for 10 to 20 min. Step 4: Drain sink and gently press out remaining water from the soaker. You do not have to rinse the soaker. Step 5: Take a clean dry towel and lay the soaker flat on one side of the towel. Then roll the soaker and towel together, like a burrito. The towel should take out all the excess water. Step 6: Lay the soaker flat to dry. If you want to hang it to dry make sure that the weight is distributed evenly so the soaker does not distort.
How to lanolize:
If the soaker feels like its not holding its weight in wetness, and seems to be leaking right away, it may need to be lanolized. To do this, take a nickel-sized (or more) amount of lanolin and dissolve it in about a cup or so of boiling hot water. (Lanolin can be purchased at any drug store; in the baby care section) Then add this to lukewarm water (about half a sink-full) and a splash of wool soap. Add your soaker to this mixture, making sure to remove all solids before submersion. Do not wring the soaker, instead swish and scrub gently. Let stand for at least a half hour (I usually leave it soaking for over an hour). Do not rinse. See above; follow from Step 4.
How often do I wash my soaker?
Wool is a natural fiber that has inherent antibacterial properties, so wet soakers need only be left to dry. Many people wash every two to four weeks, or whenever soiled with solids. When solids get on the soaker, make sure to give it a hand-wash with special wool detergent. I use Imse Vimse's wool care product, but any special wool soap will suffice.